Ultra-conservative author blasts ‘United States of Entertainment’

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Diana Benanti

 

    After seeing Bernard Goldberg and Jon Stewart verbally brawling about Goldberg’s new book on The Daily Show, I knew that anyone who could get Stewart so fahklumpt was worth looking into.

    Goldberg is the author of the New York Times bestseller 100 People Who are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is #37).

    The ultra-conservative, ex-CBS senior correspondent makes it clear within the first few pages that, chances are, no one is going to completely agree with the lucky 100 on the list. And he frankly couldn’t care less.

    Ostensibly, the list is replete with the most radical of the far left, although a handful of token Republicans made the list.

    Goldberg neatly categorizes these offenders of all things America into nine pigeonholes, which roughly explain why each person is on the list.

Some categories include the Hollywood Blowhards, American Jackals, Intellectual Thugs, Sex Warriors and the umbrella genus, TV Schlockmeisters, which includes culture-crushing network bigwigs and the biased media (TV Schlockmeisters: News Division).

    For example, Michael Moore is an America Basher, who has called his fellow Americans “the dumbest people on the planet.” Tim Robbins is a Hollywood Blowhard: someone who thinks that people should listen to him simply because he is famous, and therefore intelligent.

    “How about a few Hollywood truisms: Bush is Hitler. Conservatives love war. Republicans are racist. Columbus was a bigot. Ashcroft is a facist. Women are oppressed. Gays are oppressed. Blacks are oppressed. Liberals are compassionate. Ordinary Americans are idiots. Oh, and my favorites: Liberals are not judgmental,” Goldberg says in the book.

    In a recent interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review, Goldberg elaborated on why he chose certain people for his list, like virtually unknown feminist Linda Hirschman (77).

    “Hirshman is just too good an example of feminists gone wild to be left off the list. As I say in the book: She is not the best-known feminist in America, but she just may be the most self-important, smug, condescending one in the whole bunch, and that's no small accomplishment," Goldberg said.

    100 People Who are Screwing Up America details the downfall of our culture, and lays blame with the guilty—most of the time. (I still do not entirely buy that Barbara Streisand is sinking the country just because she once misquoted Shakespeare.)

    Or as Jon Stewart said in the interview, “By the way [Barbara Streisand] hasn’t ruined the culture since Yentl.’’

    While the focus of the book is the list itself, Goldberg’s commentary is just as important.  He qualifies his reasoning for every single person on the list.                     

    The introduction explains what led him to compile the list. At Newark Airport, Goldberg overheard a lawyer yelling into his cell phone about a legal brief, with no regard to his fellow passengers, liberally using profanity, and no one within earshot seemed to care.

    Goldberg opines that our culture has gotten increasingly vulgar and angry in recent years.

    “I find myself remembering that there was a time in America when not even a drunk in a bar would say the word ‘f***’ out loud. Today, Chevy Chase calls the president of the United States a ‘dumb f***’—not in some dingy, beer hall, but in front of a packed house at a Kennedy Center gala in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

    Goldberg cites that many of the problems in today’s culture stem from ever-falling standards in the media and on TV. Obviously, 50 years ago, TV was all white-bread, separate beds and happy endings, and Goldberg juxtaposes those wholesome images with the smutty dialogue omnipresent on TV today, creating a startling and depressing reflection of how decency has disintegrated in our society.

    Goldberg’s writing style is simple, but exhaustive in fact and detail; his off-the-cuff irreverence alleviates some of the banality of ideological literature.

    His terminology is simplistic and his analogies not always inspired, but his concise, newsy delivery is perfectly cultivated.  His arguments are well-developed, often undeniable and convincing.

    In addition to Michael Moore, Anna Nicole Smith (53), Paris Hilton’s parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton (100), Gloria Steinem (42) and Howard Dean (20) also make Goldberg’s hit list.  Also, not surprisingly, number two is Arthur Sulzberger, the legacy editor of the New York Times.

    And the number one person who is screwing up America? Michael Moore. In Goldberg’s own words in the same National Review interview, “Once upon a time, this guy would be seen a fringe lefty. Now he's mainstream. People who used to look up to JFK now admire Moore as a courageous voice of reason…We live in the United States of Entertainment, and in that country, Michael Moore is big, no pun intended. And besides, any one who says ‘They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet’ referring to his fellow Americans —in a foreign newspaper no less — is a pretty good choice for number one, in my humble view of course.”

    Enough said.